HONOLULU -- The University of Hawai`i Rainbow baseball team (7-10, 1-0 WAC) fell to the No. 4 Rice Owls (13-4, 1-0 WAC) 9-7 in the first game of the three-game conference series at the Les Murakami Stadium Friday. There were 2,697 tickets issued for the game. Sean Yamashita (0-2) picked up the loss while Rice's Philip Tribe (2-2) got the win.
The Owls struck first as Vincent Sinisi hit the first of his two home runs to put Rice up 2-0. But the Rainbows responded with a two-out two-RBI single by Derek Honma to tie the game at the end of the first.
Rice struck again, scoring one in the third and one in the fifth to give them the lead. Hawai`i responded with another run in the fourth and three runs, off a Honma two-run double and an Omori RBI, in the sixth inning to put them up 6-4.
Rice then tied it up again with two runs in the seventh before the Rainbows got one in the bottom of the inning to put them up 7-6. It stayed that way going into the top of the ninth, but Hunter Brown hit a two-out, three-run homer that proved to be the game winner.
Derek Honma led the 'Bows, going 3-for-5 with a double, four RBI and one run scored. Lane Nogawa continued to hit the ball well, going 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI while Brent Cook went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and two stolen bases. Gregg Omori also added a 2-for-3, RBI performance for Hawai`i.
Bryan Lee pitched 6.1 innings, giving up five runs while striking out five.
The two teams will play again Saturday at 6:35 p.m. with UH's Chris George and Rice's Steven Herce projected to be the starters. The teams will then close out the series Sunday, with a 1:05 p.m. start time.